Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
James I, Political Writings
ppt Early Modern London
Walpole, Castle of Otranto
ppt Eighteenth-Century Law
Dickens, Hard Times
Beginning Bleak House
The Woman Question
Law + Literature
ppt Law + Literature
Brainstorming Law + Literature
The English Legal System
Course Schedule + Bibliography (no password)
Reading Response Questions ^top
William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Shakespeare's Measure for Measure belongs to a group of plays critics often label 'disguised ruler plays', all of which were published around the time of James I's accession to the English throne in 1603.
For next session, I would ask you to briefly characterise the Duke's approach to sovereignty, law and legal principles. Do you think that the Duke's disguise compromises his approach to law/ruling or does the play depict the ideal of a good ruler?
RR 4: Shakespeare, Measure for Measure 1
Charles Dickens, Hard Times
In our last session, we briefly discussed the depiction of the Court of Chancery (and, by extension, the depiction of law in general) in Dickens's Bleak House (1852-53).
Please use Bleak House as your starting point - how does Dickens depict the law / legal contexts in his next novel Hard Times (1854)? Which legal positions and/or arguments does the novel contain, and how would you like to address them in class discussions?
RR 2: Dickens, Hard Times 1
Dickens's Hard Times features a variety of female protagonists - Sissy Jupe, Louisa Gradgrind, Stephen Blackpool's (unnamed) wife as well as his friend Rachael, and Mr. Bounderby's housekeeper Mrs. Sparsit. All of these women are determined by their (legal) relation to men.
For next session, please pick three of these women and describe how their legal position defines and contains them. Would you argue that Dickens criticises the lack of women's rights?
RR 3: Dickens, Hard Times 2
Ian McEwan, The Children Act
For next session, please read Ian McEwan's "The Law versus Religious Belief" (published in The Guardian, 05 September 2014, accompanying the publication of The Children Act). Then answer the following reading response question with reference to both McEwan's article and his novel:
In his article, McEwan draws several parallels between law, literature and his own novel. Briefly point out where he sees connections between the disciplines and then delineate how McEwan's approach is mirrored in The Children Act. Which role does literature play within the context of the novel?
RR 1: McEwan, Children Act 2
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